I was only a few hours into a cross-country drive when I stopped to stretch my legs at a Goodwill store in the town of Redmond, Oregon.
You see - I have this dream that someday I'm going to walk into a garage sale or thrift shop, and there waiting for me is some long-forgotten Leica or Hasselblad. So far, no luck. In fact, the closest I've ever come was a lowly Minolta Freedom Zoom 150 that I found that morning in Redmond.
I was drawn to this peculiar little point-and-shoot by the word "panoramic", printed exuberantly on it's silvery plastic body. My interest peaked, I popped open the back cover which triggered the automatic film rewind - at least the batteries worked!
Upon further inspection, I found that the "panoramic" mode simply cropped out the top and bottom of a standard 35mm frame. One could argue that this is more of a disadvantage than an advantage, but I thought it might be interesting to try composing a few panoramic photos without dropping some serious coin for a real panoramic camera. $5.00 later she was all mine, and we were off to the local Walmart in search of some cheap film.
With a few rolls of Fujifilm X-TRA 400 in hand I continued into the high desert of Eastern Oregon, with stops at Crack In The Ground, the Alvord Desert, and various points along the way.
I have to say, I enjoyed this little camera more than I had expected! It gave me a reason to pull over and take photos on the side of the road, which is reason enough to justify the purchase. That said, it hasn't left my office drawer ever since... Maybe it's time to drop it off at my local Goodwill and let some other forlorn Leica hunter have a go.